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Less Judgment, More Acceptance

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During the month of October, I’m following along with Edie & Ruth on their 31 Days of Less & More journey. I’d love for you to join in by reading the posts and completing the projects, or just sit back and read along each day.

Less Judgment

If you’ve been reading my blogs since the beginning (way back before MoneySavingMom.com even existed!), you know I started out as a very black & white, judgmental blogger. I was in my early twenties and I thought I had all of life pretty well figured out.

Oh how I shudder to think of some of the downright harsh things I posted in the early days of blogging! (If I offended you by my dogmatic attitude, would you please email me so I can personally ask forgiveness?)

And it wasn’t just in my blogging. My egotistical, always-right viewpoint across the board offended people, hurt people, and ruined a lot of would-be relationships.

God had to pull the rug from under me and bring me to a place of complete brokenness before I discovered this amazing thing called grace and compassion. It’s been a journey… hard at times, but overall so beautiful. The more I walk this path, the more I learn — and the more I realize how much I don’t know!

More Acceptance

Once I stopped pointing fingers and started offering a helping hand, I realized that the people I’d once criticized weren’t anything like I thought they were. In fact, I’ve learned so much about grace, love, and life from people whom I once upon a time wouldn’t associate with.

I’m also learning that heated words condemning another person’s choices don’t usually solve anything. Loving and listening to a person with a heart full of compassion and care… now that’s the way to make an impact. It’s much more powerful that the loudest, sharpest words ever will be.

For more on this topic, check out Ruth’s post on Less Judgment and Edie’s post on More Acceptance. I promise you’ll be inspired and blessed!

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81 Comments

  • Pamela says:

    I’ve noticed and appreciated your softened tone in the latter years of blogging. I struggle with this same thing. The longer I live the more I realize how gray life is — not black and white. And you are so right — compassion and grace go so much further than a judgmental attitude. Thanks for reminder, and also for your humility. May God continue to sanctify all of us!

  • Jessica says:

    I had a big lesson in this myself, this year. I nursed my oldest child with no problems and became quite the “lactivist”. I donated excess milk to my state’s milk bank, helped to form a breastfeeding coalition in my state, acted as our representative at the annual La Leche League conference, etc. When my second child was born, he had some birth injuries that made it impossible for him to nurse. I pumped for him for 3 months until he healed and learned how to nurse. After that, I thought if I could do it, anybody could do it, and how dare women say it was hard and they give up. Last December, I had my third child. I couldn’t wait to nurse her. It was an easy delivery. She was just perfect. We started out nursing. I quickly developed health problems and she continued to lose weight at 3 and 4 weeks old. As it turned out, my thyroid disorder got out of control after giving birth. It caused my milk supply to plummet, which was the cause of my baby losing weight. Within a few weeks, I had no milk at all. I had to formula feed. For a while, I thought it was the end of the world. And then, I realized that there was a lesson in all of it. Maybe not all formula feeding moms chose to do that. Maybe they weren’t all self-centered or ill-informed. Maybe, just maybe, they cared enough about their babies to not let them starve to death! Despite my efforts to rebuild a milk supply, with multiple lactation consultations, visits to my endocrinologist, ob/gyn, pediatrician, taking domperidone, reglan, fenugreek and blessed thistle, nursing mother’s teas, and pumping 10x daily for 30 minutes each time with massage and compression and power pumping… I physically wasn’t able to make milk to feed my baby. My baby is now 9 months old and is thriving. I’ve accepted the situation for what it is. And I’m not so judgmental anymore when I see another mom buying formula or bottle feeding her baby. Sometimes we have to have a hard fall to learn this lesson.

    • Megan says:

      As a mother who would do just about anything to be able to nurse her babes I really appreciate this comment!

    • Crystal says:

      Yes… such a great lesson. Though I’m so sorry you had to go through all that struggle!

    • Jasmine says:

      Thank you for your comment! I am a mother of two and was unable to breastfeed for more than a few weeks. Both due to health complications and I won’t sugar coat it, I cried both times. Every time I bought formula I felt I was admitting defeat. It took time but eventually I accepted that I was doing my best.

    • At bible study, we were talking about grace and how God sees us. Every situation is different from when someone can study His word to how busy someone is. I think we all can act prideful on any issue. Usually when we do, He has a way of humbling us to bring us back to Him and His Word. Thanking God for grace. 🙂

    • Lynda says:

      I really appreciate you saying this. I only have one breast that produces milk (due to a surgical procedure on the other) and combined with that, our now 21 and 18 year old daughters each had medical issues that made it impossible to breastfeed them. I felt *so guilty* until my wise husband pointed out that each of us had been formula fed, and we had turned out okay. While I’m very much in favor of breastfeeding, there are circumstances like yours and mine that make it impossible – so glad to hear your little one is doing well!

    • Emily says:

      What a thoughtful comment! Yes, not all moms who formula feed wanted it to be that way.

  • I love this post. I could easily write the same things about my 20 something self. I loved your honesty. <3

  • jennifer says:

    Wow, brave post. Thanks for sharing. Although I was hoping that for us readers who have only discovered you in the past year or two, that you might share one of your earlier posts to give us a flavor of what you’re talking about.

  • I needed to read this. I am very much a black-and-white person as well, and I truly believe it has been part of what hinders my blog growth. Every day is a struggle to put on compassion, but I think I am at least a little bit better at it now than before. 🙂

  • Carrie Jordan says:

    Crystal you are going through all the changes everyone does. It takes some time for God to mold us into the people he wants us to be and because of our stubbornness and hard headed and hearted attitude it takes a lot longer. Hon, you went through the same thing we all go through at that age. The difference for you is that you did it in a very public way and it’s all in black and white. 🙁 Trust me, I’m 55, and I can tell you there will be more repenting to come. Thank goodness we serve a God who loves us and is patient and forgiving. What a blessing! And what a blessing you are to so many. God bless.

    • cheryl says:

      So true. I’m 50 and I was just horrible to others in my 20’s and even into my 30’s. Harsh and rigid. That was me. We are all a work in progress. Thank God for his patience and grace.

  • I once had a nun, Sister Collette, my first grade teacher give me a great piece of advice once… “leave all judgment to the person who invented time and space, so you won’t waste your days disliking others, and will leave space in your heart open to love.” This message was written on the board daily in her classroom, and twenty-four years later it still impacts my life!

  • bon otts says:

    I’m “new” to moneysaving mom but I’m an “old” person! I have enjoyed the time I have been reading your posts on FB (and on this site) and I’ve learned quite a lot! God bless!

  • SandyH says:

    I find this so difficult to believe, you are such a model of helpfulness. It doesn’t matter, we all grow up and learn about life. Thank goodness!! I would hate to think I am the exact same person I was in my early 20’s, and although I can’t say I have ever been a BAD person, I certainly am smarter, more in control, and more willing to admit shortcomings than I was back then.

  • D'Ann Martin says:

    One of my favorite quotes from Joyce Meyer, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be!” Amen and amen! The book, “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is about Dazzling your kids with God’s Grace, but it taught this momma to show not only my kids grace, but my friends and family (and especially my husband-gulp) grace as well. A super great read! Your blog is wonderful Crystal. Thank you so much!

  • Lori says:

    Crystal,
    Thank you for being so brave and putting yourself out there. I, too, struggle with this and I am trying so hard to change and be a better, kinder person. In my case I think some of it comes from being raised in an extremely strict and close-minded christian family. I was taught that anything outside what the church approved was a sin, and anyone who disagreed with anything the pastor (my father) preached, was a sinner going to hell. It was almost like being brainwashed.

    It’s taken me years of being separated from that environment to change my views and not be as judgmental. The Lord is full of love and kindness and I know his teachings had nothing to do with the hatefulness I learned growing up. I will be forever grateful that he can love someone as flawed as me.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes! Can I encourage you to do a study in Scripture on who you are in Christ?

      In Christ, you are enough. You are forgiven, accepted, loved. He sees you as beautiful. No one and nothing can take away your identity in Christ.

      {hugs!}

      • Linda says:

        Thank you Crystal for your wise and thoughtful comment. I hadn’t thought of doing a study but I think I will; I definitely need it.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you Crystal. There was a time some years ago where I did stop reading, only to be prompted by the Lord to remember grace. And wouldn’t you know, He is speaking to me even more these days about grace. Yes, as Carrie says, the refining will continue. Continue to shine!

  • Thank you for being open, apologetic, and humble, such rare qualities in a person and that says a lot about your character in Christ. I have always admired you.

  • sona says:

    Good for you Crystal. Honesty with ones self rarely happens in the 20’s. Most of us believe what we have been taught to be black and white. Its all we know and we haven’t lived long enough to understand life’s nuances. We have been or certainly known those without children say, ” I will NEVER……….” Only to eat those words when the kidlets come.

    The unexamined life is not worth living…..Socrates

  • I think a lot of people can struggle with being judgmental at that age. I know I came home from college thinking I “knew it all” and I’m sure I was obnoxious to my family and probably some of my friends. I’m in my early 30’s now (and still have a long way to go), but it’s amazing what a little bit of life experience will teach you about compassion. The more I walk through struggles and hardships of my own, the more I realize that none of us can truly pass judgment on another person unless we’ve walked in their shoes. There are some issues that we must stand firm on, but we should still do it in a compassionate, loving, and grace-filled manor. Great post! I wasn’t a reader then, but you sure are an encouragement to me! 🙂

  • I’ve been here about two years now, so I have only known the gentle and encouraging tone! I went through the same attitude in my early twenties and learned that being judgmental was not uplifting. Now, I thrive on hearing people talk about their reasons for certain choices as they help me see different views.

  • Beth says:

    Crystal, I came in as a reader at the tail end of Biblical Motherhood and my observation is that throughout all your blogging, you have written with authority. This is a quality that draws me to your blog, even if (as you would say), I don’t always agree with all of your conclusions. Obviously, as this blog post title points out, authority doesn’t have to be judgmental, but rather confidence in the Truth. As someone who is slogging along in the trenches of young adult development with you, I think it is awesome and courageous that you took the time to write such a vulnerable post. I’m not sure that I understand the point of this series of posts, but I have no doubt that it will propel you into even greater accomplishments. I hope that you can take this recognition and feel proud about this milestone in your life’s journey as you continue to work toward the next. I look forward to reading what emerges on the other side of October!

  • Anne says:

    I can’t imagine that side of you! Thank you for being so open with your imperfections. God is good.

  • Cathy says:

    I don’t remember your old posts from Biblical Womanhood as being all that harsh or anything, but do think you’ve softened a bit. And the same has happened to me as well….God’s working on all of us who let Him.

  • DL says:

    I am an older woman who has read your writing ever since your first blog. I will boldly say that I was encouraged by your writing then and actually miss reading that blog. God is so gracious to continue to work in and through us as we walk in His ways. Grace is an amazing gift the Lord has given His people and I for one am so dependent on this blessing. However I appreciate when someone writes and is willing to take a stand for what they believe, even if others do not agree or take offense. Grace can be an interesting topic. I have often noticed that those who demand it are often the ones who do not give it in return.

    • Sarah G. says:

      I also agree with DL in that I am a reader from way back who misses your old blog and was encouraged by your posts. While you did draw some debates in the comment section, I honestly don’t remember you coming across as judgmental to others, only sure of what you yourself believed. Which was many times unpopular in today’s world, but was very refreshing for me to read.

      So please know that you were a blessing to me! *hug*

      • Erica Miller says:

        I agree with both of you ladies! I think Biblical Womanhood was one of the first blogs I started reading years ago and I had learned a lot. I might’ve even printed off some of the posts! That said, I do understand what you are saying Crystal. We often think we have it all figured out in those early days of marriage and motherhood. Struggles and hard times can definitely pull the rug out from under us and give us a new perspective on things. I am thankful for the good things that I took away from those old blogs 🙂

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    I have been a reader for a long time and I think you have changed in HUGE ways, but then so have I. I was extremely legalistic in my early twenties and I offended people who read my blog all the time without trying to do so. I think wisdom comes as we go through trials and gain experience and perspective. Though I feel so much wiser now that I’m in my 30s I’m sure I’ll look back in 10 years from now and shake my head at some of my ideas and opinions from this decade. I love your humility and openness and think that being vulnerable is the key to truly reaching people. Having met you in real life I know that you are far sweeter and more soft-spoken than the readers can even imagine even through your gentle and encouraging writing. For what it’s worth, your writing did encourage me as a young, new mom looking for godly encouragement and support even if I disagreed sometimes. (My inner feminist just couldn’t stand the thought of letting Josiah pick out my outfits!) =) We learn as we grow and it’s a lifelong process. You have helped so many families over the years! Thank you for all you do!

    • Crystal says:

      {hugs!} It was such a blessing to meet you in real life and I hope that it happens again this side of heaven. You’ve been such a blessing to me!

  • barb says:

    I’ve only been a reader for one year, but I was shocked that you weren’t always as sweet and warm as you are now. That being said, kudos. I was judgy in my 20s and somehow feel more accepting now. But, really, I have a long, long way to being as gracious as I should be.
    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • Brandi says:

    Crystal- I’m pretty sure you have mentioned in the past that you use an app to print gift cards. Can you tell me the name of that app?

  • elizabeth says:

    I am reader from way back, with Biblical Womanhood. That’s actually where I found you! You had a lot of great posts then even though the tone was different. Don’t be so hard on yourself! 🙂

  • edie says:

    Crystal,
    What a beautiful, brave thing to say. I love you more and more!
    We are SO blessed by you.
    xoxo,
    edie

  • Michele says:

    Crystal,

    It took a lot of guts to write that. And I, for one, appreciate it. I have been reading your blog(s) for about 6 years, having found it from a “saving money” search. I immediately appreciated the information your blog provided and kept going back to it, even though I was a bit turned off with your tone sometimes. There were a few times I wanted to stop reading your blog altogether. I am so much like you financially but am probably about as different from you religiously and politically as one can be.

    It has been refreshing to see the gradual change in your blog. I will admit that I was suspicious if you were attempting to appear more mainstream just to grow your blog. But I am glad to see that is not the case. We are all in this world together and learning to understand each other is the best way to improve upon it. Blessings to you and your family. And thank you for your humility.

  • Crystal,

    I really enjoyed reading this post and am sure it wasn’t the easiest thing to write!

    I have read your blog from way back in the Biblical Womanhood days and remember when you deleted it.

    Your constant striving for improvement is an encouragement to me. I love that you are a real person who acknowledges flaws and gives grace to others. The fact that you care so much about what God thinks and are trying to look more like Christ makes me respect you so very much.

  • I’m learning this as well. It’s definitely human nature to always want to be right. But God has a way of putting us in ironic situations. Many of the people at whom I used to mentally roll my eyes are now some of the people I am most like. I just didn’t understand all the reasons they did things they did, and then God put me into their shoes. I am learning to be more understanding that I don’t need to judge people because I do not know everything about their situation, and I am also learning to let it roll off my back when people criticize me, knowing that I have often been guilty of the same.

  • Amen! I am so tired of people judging. Love says go love!

  • Peggy says:

    Crystal, I would ask that sometime you consider writing a book about your journey from legalism to grace. My journey as a homeschooling mother of 20+ years and an evangelical Christian has been unbelievable. I never thought of myself as a legalist but that is how I spent my thirties and most of forties until the Lord allowed my life to totally fall apart (in every way possible). What you describe is not limited to youth and is a wake-up call to anyone who heart is pricked by your post.

    • Crystal says:

      {Hugs!} I’m so sorry that you’ve had your life fall apart. My heart hurts for you and I can only imagine what pain and heartache that must have entailed.

      But isn’t grace such a beautiful thing? In the midst of the pain, the hurt, the brokenness, His faithfulness and love shines through.

      {Also? I’m praying that if and when the time is right, God will open the door for me to be able to share my story of coming out of legalism into grace, freedom, and joy. I’m a work in progress and for now, God has me in a season of learning, growing, maturing, and soaking up more of His grace.}

      • Megan says:

        I think that story would make an amazing book, Crystal! I’d definitely read it. I’ve been reading you since the early Biblical Womanhood days and witnessing your growth has been a pleasure and an inspiration. You’ve held to your strongest convictions while keeping your mind and heart open, and I so admire that about you.

  • MK says:

    Can I tell you that those old Biblical Motherhood days were pretty well forgotten? It’s pretty fuzzy for me, and I don’t even remember the transition to MSM. But I never would have found this little basement apartment that makes it possible for me to stay home with my girls without your example. I probably wouldn’t have pursued as many good books, or read as much about nutrition, or put as much effort into setting up house. I wouldn’t have been as frugal and we probably would be going backwards right now.

    So thank you, truly, for writing back then.

    But…I did also carry a lot of guilt that I didn’t do all those ideal wife-y things. I didn’t become a Christian until we were dating, and once we were engaged I was determined to become the ideal wife. Now, I tend toward laziness, so I never got around to much of any of those legalistic things, but I held onto guilt for not doing them. After reading that forum thread, I talked with my husband about it.

    H was entirely surprised by the list of things he never expected me to do or be–but that I have always felt guilt over.

    Grace. It’s a good, good thing.

    This is getting far too long, but my main point is this: I was blessed by Biblical Motherhood. I am blessed greatly by Money Saving Mom. Thank you for sharing (even when you aren’t perfect…or think that you are ;)), and please don’t stop.

  • D Jensen says:

    Beautifully put!! Thank you!

  • Angi says:

    Crystal, I don’t really remember your posts being legalistic and judgemental back then – but those are heart issues and not always apparent to the outside world. I was saved when I was 21 and one of the hardest things for me was to hear other christians talk about nonchristians and their “sin”. I knew because of my background that without God’s grace I would be where these other “sinners” were.

    Now, as my children who have been raised in a christian home are entering young adult years, I see the judgement that they have towards others, even though we’ve tried to raise them in grace. I truly believe it’s because they’ve really not experienced hardship yet – true, bring you to the end of yourself, on your knees hardship. But they will, we all do, it’s part of growing up. I’m really not looking forward to that but I know it will come.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m enjoying these 31 days.

  • Ashley says:

    I started reading MSM from Tammy’s recipes back in the day. I read a little BW but you transitioned to MSM right after. We actually met not all that long ago in a worship setting and you held my son, Ky. Remember me? Hello again!

    You have blessed, blessed my heart and pocketbook time and time again. This blogging world is a bit of a crazy place as you feel as though you somewhat “know” someone without really knowing them. While I don’t really know you, your “blog part of your life” is a help and encouragement.

    From this post, I discern that you are in the Word and that is what is pouring out. Grace. Mercy. Truth. Love. Peace. JOY! So courageous of you to share! The beam has been so big in my eye, I haven’t any place to point out the speck you’re working through! 🙂

    Thanks again for all the help when we were struggling on the beans and rice budget. 🙂

  • Cate R. says:

    Hugs to you, Crystal! I really appreciate the bravery here. And glad you didn’t throw the baby (Christianity) out with the bathwater (legalism).

  • There is no doubt that I am still guilty of this. Much better than I used to be, but still guilty.

    However, there is also a place for telling the truth rather than placate. Do you love someone enough to tell them the truth? Aren’t most of us too worried if anyone will like us if we do?

    There is a balance… As the Lord says, it is a narrow path we walk.

  • elizabeth says:

    Crystal, I commented earlier but just remembered something. I used to really enjoy your series you used to do every week called Making Your Home a Haven. Or something like that. lol. It really motivated me a lot. Thank you for all you do to help us save money and live better.

  • Jessica says:

    I used to read your Biblical Womanhood blog, and it was my favorite! I understand where you’re coming from though, and completely get why you deleted it, but please know that your blog blessed(and this one continues to bless) a lot of people. I would also love to read about the journey you’ve taken in the last few years!

  • Kadee says:

    I started reading your blog about 6 years ago when we hit a financial crisis and I needed to learn how to be frugal. At first, I remember thinking you were so wise about money, but certain things you said left me thinking you still had some growing to do in other areas. A few times I even felt I should stop reading because of things you said or implied. However, I have sensed a change over the years and obviously I’m still here reading. 🙂 . I say all this fully admitting I have gone through similar changes as I experience more life, and hope I continue to grow, mature, and gain more wisdom in each new season of life given to me.

    • Christal Beyer says:

      Hi Crystal,

      I definitely have observed a sharp shift in your writing since Biblical Womanhood. I applaud your journey and for having the courage to share it here. That being said, there was much on Biblical Womanhood that was encouraging and uplifting, but I enjoy your blog even more now. Thank you for your inspirational posts and helpful financial advice.

      You are a blessing to us all.

  • Lisa says:

    Very nice post.

  • Karen says:

    You have been an encouragement to me since BW. God has worked much in my life also to see that while some things ARE black & white in Scripture, many things are not always as cut & dry as they are sometimes presented. As many have said though, even when I didn’t agree with your conclusions, your posts inspired me to really think through why my husband and I have come to the conclusions we have come to and whether we were missing something, especially Biblically. It is good to be challenged that way. There are a few well-known authors I still sometimes read that have not softened who I often disagree with, but they challenge my thinking and cause me to evaluate what I am doing in light of Scripture. I think that can be good.

    I have noticed the tone of your blog change to which you refer. Another thing I have noticed is that while you have “softened” in some areas, you continue to inspire me to think through ways that I can be and do my best in many areas of life. Thank you for that. I am sure that as your fame has risen, the accompanying difficulties have as well. It can be hard to live on a pedestal! Thank you for rising to the occasion and continuing to write. My life has been very positively impacted by your encouragement as have many. You are doing an amazing work here. Please keep it up!

  • Jenifer says:

    Oh I am with you gurrrl!
    I use to be so black and white(because it seemed less messy, right?)
    But as I get older(going on 39), I realize life is so, so, so gray.
    I still find myself being judgy and somewhat harsh at times, but it is less and less.
    Thank God!
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Sonya Johnson says:

    I was a reader “way back then” and I feel that you are being hard on yourself. Yes, I think that when we are young we ALL were Miss/Mrs. Know-It-All’s. Many of us have first hand experience with that when we think about our children. How many of us have said, “I will never allow my child to do such and such or behave in such a manner”– then we HAD children? We have all done that. I personally miss that original blog because even though I didn’t agree with you on every point, I felt challenged by my own perspectives. I GREW in my relationship with the Lord by reading that blog. You inspired many of us regardless of how you feel about it!
    Please give yourself grace as many of us grew in a positive direction. I also think that you are setting a great example by asking for forgiveness to those who were offended. There are too many people who will not humble themselves to ask for forgiveness.
    Thank you and continue with God’s grace!

  • kat says:

    this post was such a blessing to me! i’m in my early 20s now, married and a new reader (well, relatively, i started reading in the past 18 months)–and WOW did this post resonate. i am pretty black and white myself, but i try to keep it inside, with lots of grace and some constant backsliding, which allows me to keep trying. we change all the time and this was a nice reminder of that it’s not always change for the bad.

    two unrelated asides: i love your new headshot! the photographer really captured your inner warmth. AND though i’m a relatively recent addition, i was looking on various pages recently and found your “Monthly Financial Check-Ups”! any chance you will be bringing those back? they were so inspiring!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for your kind encouragement!

      We switched from the monthly financial update to monthly goals update where I share financial plus other goals. I usually post it the first week of every month, so be on the lookout for it.

  • Elisabeth says:

    I’ve been following you from way back. I even remember when you did the Covenant Wedding Source thing! Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I loved reading your blog, Biblical Womanhood and kind of miss it! I had a very strict upbringing and your blog was approved reading. It seriously blessed me. Now I’m married and a mother myself, and have gone through some tough times but thank God, He has been faithful to teach me much about grace and mercy through it. I sure needed (and still need!) to grow in grace and understanding. So thank you for your blog then and now. You’re my favourite blogger! 🙂

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